To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to tackle human trafficking and to provide assistance to its victims.
Lord Brett: My Lords, we continue to make the UK a hostile environment for trafficking and to ensure that victims are protected as part of our comprehensive victim-centred, end-to-end strategy, as set out in the UK plan to tackle human trafficking. This approach has been reinforced by our ratification of the Council of Europe convention against human trafficking which came into effect on 1 April and which strengthens our identification and protection arrangements for victims.
Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. I have a number of concerns but will confine myself to two points. First, bearing in mind that victims of human trafficking are all over the country, what is being done to ensure that training is provided to all the police forces? Secondly, as human trafficking is a global problem, what liaison is being maintained between us and other European countries and other foreign countries?
Lord Brett: My Lords, I agree entirely with the noble Lord on both the points he makes. Our strategy regards the fight against human trafficking as a core part of police business, and the training of all police officers in all regions is an essential part of that. Providing funding for that activity through the core funding of police is also important. The noble Lord makes a very important point; in many cases we are a destination country for trafficked people. Some years ago when I chaired a major conference with Interpol I came across the most horrific story involving deaf and dumb people who were trafficked from Russia to sell dolls in France, and the evidence suggested that they never returned to Russia if they failed to sell the dolls in question. It is most important that we use Interpol and our European colleagues and the UK is playing a leading part in that task.